Child Abuse Defined N-W

Nebraska

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Child abuse or neglect’ means knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causing, or permitting a minor child to be placed in a situation that endangers his or her life or physical health, or causes or permits a child to be cruelly confined or cruelly punished.

 

Neglect

‘Child abuse or neglect’ means knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causing or permitting a minor child to be deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or care or causing or permitting a child age 6 or younger to be left unattended in a motor vehicle.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘child abuse or neglect’ includes knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causing or permitting a minor child to be either of the following:

  • Sexually abused
  • Sexually exploited by allowing, encouraging, or forcing the child to solicit for or engage in prostitution, debauchery, public indecency, or obscene or pornographic photography, films, or depictions

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘child abuse or neglect’ includes knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causing or permitting a minor child to be placed in a situation that endangers his or her mental health.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 28-705(3)
When a person abandons and neglects to provide for his or her child or dependent stepchild for 3 consecutive months or more, it shall be prima facie evidence of intent to commit abandonment of a child or dependent stepchild.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 28-711
A report is required when a mandatory reporter or any other person has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect or observes such child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that reasonably would result in child abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

A report must be made when any person is responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child.

 

Exceptions

 

No exceptions are specified in statute.

 

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Nevada

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse or neglect of a child’ means physical or mental injury of a nonaccidental nature, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child caused or allowed by a person responsible for his or her welfare under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm.

‘Physical injury’ includes, without limitation, the following:

  • A sprain or dislocation
  • Damage to cartilage
  • A fracture of a bone or the skull
  • An intracranial hemorrhage or injury to another internal organ
  • A burn or scalding
  • A cut, laceration, puncture, or bite
  • Permanent or temporary disfigurement or loss or impairment of a part or organ of the body

Excessive corporal punishment may result in physical or mental injury constituting abuse or neglect of a child.

 

Neglect

Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child occurs if a child has been subjected to harmful behavior that is terrorizing, degrading, painful, or emotionally traumatic; has been abandoned; is without proper care, control, or supervision; or lacks the subsistence, education, shelter, medical care, or other care necessary for the well-being of the child because of the faults or habits of the person responsible for the welfare of the child or the neglect or refusal of the person to provide them when able to do so.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Sexual abuse’ includes acts upon a child constituting any of the following:

  • Incest
  • Lewdness with a child
  • Sadomasochistic abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory sexual seduction
  • Mutilation of the genitalia of a female child; aiding, abetting, encouraging, or participating in the mutilation of the genitalia of a female child; or removal of a female child from this State for the purpose of mutilating the genitalia of the child

‘Sexual exploitation’ includes forcing, allowing, or encouraging a child to do any of the following:

  • To solicit for or engage in prostitution
  • To view a pornographic film or literature
  • To engage in filming, photographing, recording on videotape, posing, modeling, depiction, or a live performance before an audience that involves the exhibition of a child’s genitals or any sexual conduct with a child

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Mental injury’ means an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity or the emotional condition of a child as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment of his or her ability to function within his or her normal range of performance or behavior.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.140
‘Negligent treatment or maltreatment’ of a child occurs if a child has been abandoned.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.220
A report is required when a mandatory reporter, in his or her professional or occupational capacity, knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

The term ‘parent’ means a natural or adoptive parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

The term ‘person responsible for a child’s welfare’ includes any of the following:

  • The child’s parent, guardian, or stepparent with whom the child lives
  • An adult person continually or regularly found in the same household as the child
  • A public or private home, institution, or facility in which the child actually resides or is receiving care outside of the home for all or a portion of the day
  • A person directly responsible or serving as a volunteer for or employed by such a home, institution, or facility

 

Exceptions

Relinquishment of a newborn in accordance with the law is not considered abuse or neglect.

It is not considered abuse or neglect when a parent or guardian, in good faith, selects and depends upon nonmedical remedial treatment for the child, if such treatment is recognized and permitted under the laws of the State in lieu of medical treatment. This paragraph does not limit the court in ensuring that a child receive a medical examination and treatment pursuant to § 62E.280.

 

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New Hampshire

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ means any child who has been subjected to any of the following:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Intentional physical injury
  • Physical injury by other than accidental means
  • Human trafficking by any person
  • Female genital mutilation

 

Neglect

‘Neglected child’ means a child to whom the following applies:

  • Who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his or her physical, mental, or emotional health, when it is established that his or her health has suffered or is very likely to suffer serious impairment, and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose parents, guardian, or custodian are unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization, or other physical or mental incapacity

‘Serious impairment’ means a substantial weakening or diminishment of a child’s emotional, physical, or mental health or of a child’s safety and general well-being. The following circumstances shall be considered in determining the likelihood that a child may suffer serious impairment:

  • The age and developmental level of the child
  • Any recognized mental, emotional, or physical disabilities
  • School attendance and performance
  • The child’s illegal use of controlled substances or the child’s contact with other persons involved in the illegal use or sale of controlled substances or the abuse of alcohol
  • Exposure to incidents of domestic or sexual violence
  • Any documented failure to thrive
  • Any history of frequent illness or injury
  • The condition of the child’s place of residence
  • Assessments or evaluations of the child conducted by qualified professionals
  • Such other factors that may be determined to be appropriate or relevant

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Sexual abuse’ means any of the following:

  • The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in or having a child assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct
  • The rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children
  • Incest with children

With respect to the definition of sexual abuse, the term ‘child’ or ‘children’ means any individual who is younger than age 18.

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abused child’ includes any child who has been psychologically injured so that the child exhibits symptoms of emotional problems generally recognized to result from consistent mistreatment or neglect.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:3
‘Abandoned’ means the child has been left by his or her parent, guardian, or custodian without provision for his or her care, supervision, or financial support, although his or her parent, guardian, or custodian is financially able to provide such support.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:29
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘A person responsible for a child’s welfare’ includes the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian, as well as the person providing out-of-home care of the child, if that person is not the parent, guardian, or custodian. For purposes of this definition, ‘out-of-home care’ includes child daycare and any other settings in which children are given care outside of their homes.

The term ‘parent’ means mother, father, or adoptive parent, but the term shall not include a parent whose parent-child relationship has been terminated by judicial decree or voluntary relinquishment. ‘Household member’ means any person living with the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child from time to time or on a regular basis who is involved occasionally or regularly with the care of the child.

 

Exceptions

No child who is, in good faith, under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be a neglected child under this chapter.

 

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New Jersey

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ or ‘abused or neglected child’ means a child under age 18 whose parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control does any of the following:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means that causes or creates a substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
  • Creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means that would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
  • Inflicts unreasonably or allows to be inflicted harm or substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment or by any other acts of a similarly serious nature requiring the aid of the court
  • Uses excessive physical restraint upon the child under circumstances that do not indicate that the child’s behavior is harmful to himself or herself, others, or property

 

Neglect

‘Abused child’ or ‘abused or neglected child’ means a child younger than age 18 whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control, to exercise a minimum degree of care, including the failure to do the following:

  • To supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical, or surgical care, although financially able to do so or although offered financial or other reasonable means to do so
  • To provide the child with proper supervision or guardianship

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The terms ‘abused child’ or ‘abused or neglected child’ include a child under age 18 whose parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child.

 

Emotional Abuse

The terms ‘abused child’ or ‘abused or neglected child’ include a child under age 18 who is in an institution and either of the following applies:

  • Has been placed there inappropriately for a continued period of time with the knowledge that the placement has resulted or may continue to result in harm to the child’s mental or physical well-being
  • Who has been willfully isolated from ordinary social contact under circumstances that indicate emotional or social deprivation

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21
The terms ‘abused child’ or ‘abused or neglected child’ include a child under age 18 who has been willfully abandoned by his or her parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.10
A report is required when any person has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Parent or guardian’ means any natural parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, stepparent, paramour of a parent, or any person who has assumed responsibility for the care, custody, or control of a child or upon whom there is a legal duty for such care.

Parent or guardian includes a teacher, employee, or volunteer, whether compensated or uncompensated, of an institution who is responsible for the child’s welfare and any other staff person of an institution, regardless of whether or not the person is responsible for the care or supervision of the child. Parent or guardian also includes a teaching staff member or other employee, whether compensated or uncompensated, of a day school.

 

Exceptions

No child who in good faith is under treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for this reason alone, be considered to be abused or neglected.

 

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New Mexico

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ means a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who has suffered or is at risk of suffering serious harm because of the action or inaction of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Who has suffered physical abuse inflicted or caused by the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has knowingly, intentionally, or negligently placed the child in a situation that may endanger the child’s life or health
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has knowingly or intentionally tortured, cruelly confined, or cruelly punished the child

‘Physical abuse’ includes any case in which the child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death, and any of the following apply:

  • There is no justifiable explanation for the condition or death.
  • The explanation given for the condition is inconsistent with the degree or nature of the condition.
  • The explanation given for the death is at variance with the nature of the death.
  • Circumstances indicate that the condition or death may not be the product of an accidental occurrence.

‘Great bodily harm’ means an injury to a person that creates a high probability of death, that causes serious disfigurement, or that results in permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a member or organ of the body.

 

Neglect

‘Neglected child’ means a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who has been abandoned by the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Who is without proper parental care and control or subsistence, education, medical, or other care or control necessary for the child’s well-being because of the faults or habits of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian or that person’s failure or refusal, when able to do so, to provide them
  • Who has been physically or sexually abused when the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian knew or should have known of the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the child from further harm
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to discharge his or her responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization, or other physical or mental disorder or incapacity
  • Who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abused child’ includes a child who has suffered sexual abuse or sexual exploitation inflicted by the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

‘Sexual abuse’ includes criminal sexual contact, incest, or criminal sexual penetration, as those acts are defined by State law.

‘Sexual exploitation’ includes the following:

  • Allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution
  • Allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging a child in obscene or pornographic photographing
  • Filming or depicting a child for obscene or pornographic commercial purposes, as those acts are defined by State law

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abused child’ includes a child who has suffered emotional or psychological abuse inflicted or caused by the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2
‘Abandonment’ includes instances when the parent, without justifiable cause, did the following:

  • Left the child without provision for the child’s identification for a period of 14 days
  • Left the child with others, including the other parent or an agency, without provision for support and without communication, for a period of 3 months if the child was younger than age 6 at the commencement of the 3-month period, or 6 months if the child was older than age 6 at the commencement of the 6-month period

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-3
A report is required when any person knows or has a reasonable suspicion that the child is abused or neglected.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

 

Exceptions

Nothing in the Children’s Code shall be construed to imply that a child who is being provided with treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof, is, for that reason alone, a neglected child. It is further provided that no child shall be denied the protection afforded to all children under the Children’s Code.

 

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New York

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ means a child younger than age 18 whose parent or other person legally responsible for his or her care does any of the following:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means that causes or creates a substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
  • Creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means that would be likely to cause death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ

 

Neglect

‘Neglected child’ means a child younger than age 18 whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of the failure of his or her parent or other person legally responsible for his or her care to exercise a minimum degree of care, as follows:

  • In supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical or surgical care, although financially able to do so or offered financial or other reasonable means to do so
  • In providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship
  • By unreasonably inflicting or allowing harm to be inflicted, or a substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment
  • By misusing drugs or alcoholic beverages to the extent that he or she loses self-control of his or her actions
  • By any other acts of a similarly serious nature requiring the aid of the court

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abused child’ includes a child younger than age 18 whose parent or other person legally responsible for his or her care commits, or allows to be committed, an act of sexual abuse against such child, as defined in penal law.

The term ‘abused child’ also includes a child younger than age 18 whose parent or other person legally responsible for his or her care does any of the following:

  • Commits or allows to be committed any sex offense against the child, as defined in article 130 of the penal law, including sexual misconduct, rape, and sexual abuse
  • Allows, permits, or encourages the child to engage in child prostitution, as described in §§ 230.25, 230.30, and 230.32 of the penal law
  • Commits an act of incest, as described §§ 255.25, 255.26, and 255.27 of the penal law
  • Allows the child to engage in acts or conduct to produce, promote, or possess child pornography, as described in article 263 of the penal law
  • Permits or encourages the child to engage in any act or commits or allows to be committed against the child any offense that would render the child either a victim of sex trafficking or a victim of severe forms of trafficking in persons pursuant to 22 U.S.C. § 7102

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Impairment of emotional health’ and ‘impairment of mental or emotional condition’ includes a state of substantially diminished psychological or intellectual functioning in relation to, but not limited to, such factors as failure to thrive, control of aggressive or self-destructive impulses, ability to think and reason, acting out, or misbehavior, including incorrigibility, ungovernability, or habitual truancy, provided, however, that such impairment must be clearly attributable to the unwillingness or inability of the respondent to exercise a minimum degree of care toward the child.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 384-b
A child is ‘abandoned’ by his or her parent if such parent evinces an intent to forgo his or her parental rights and obligations as manifested by his or her failure to visit the child and communicate with the child or agency, although able to do so and not prevented or discouraged from doing so by the agency. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, such ability to visit and communicate shall be presumed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 413
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming before him or her in his or her professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include the child’s parent and other persons legally responsible for the child’s care.

The term ‘person legally responsible’ includes the child’s custodian, guardian, and any other person responsible for the child’s care at the relevant time. A custodian may include a person continually or at regular intervals found in the same household as the child when the conduct of such person causes or contributes to the abuse or neglect of the child.

 

Exceptions

When the parent is voluntarily and regularly participating in a rehabilitative program, evidence that the parent has repeatedly misused a drug or drugs or alcoholic beverages to the extent that he or she loses self-control of his or her actions shall not establish that the child is a neglected child in the absence of evidence establishing that the child’s physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired.

 

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North Carolina

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused juvenile’ means any child younger than age 18 who is found to be a minor victim of human trafficking under § 14-43.15 or whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver does any of the following:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child a serious physical injury by other than accidental means
  • Creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of serious physical injury to the child by other than accidental means
  • Uses or allows to be used upon the child cruel or grossly inappropriate procedures or cruel or grossly inappropriate devices to modify behavior
  • Encourages, directs, or approves of delinquent acts involving moral turpitude committed by the juvenile
  • Commits or allows to be committed the offense of human trafficking, involuntary servitude, or sexual servitude against the child

This term includes any juvenile younger than age 18 who is a victim or is alleged to be a victim of human trafficking, involuntary servitude, or sexual servitude, regardless of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator.

 

Neglect

‘Neglected juvenile’ means a child younger than age 18 who is found to be a minor victim of human trafficking or whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver acts as follows:

  • Does not provide proper care, supervision, or discipline
  • Does not provide necessary medical care or remedial care
  • Allows the child to live in an environment injurious to the child’s welfare
  • Unlawfully transfers custody of the child under § 14-321.2
  • Places the child for care or adoption in violation of law

In determining whether a child is a neglected juvenile, it is relevant whether that child lives in a home where another child has died as a result of suspected abuse or neglect or has been subjected to abuse or neglect by an adult who regularly lives in the home.

‘Serious neglect’ means conduct, behavior, or inaction of the juvenile’s parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver that evidences a disregard of consequences of such magnitude that the conduct, behavior, or inaction constitutes an unequivocal danger to the juvenile’s health, welfare, or safety but does not constitute abuse.

A ‘dependent juvenile’ is a juvenile in need of assistance or placement because of either of the following:

  • The juvenile has no parent, guardian, or custodian responsible for the juvenile’s care or supervision.
  • The juvenile’s parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide for the juvenile’s care or supervision and lacks an appropriate alternative child care arrangement.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abused juvenile’ includes any child younger than age 18 who is found to be a minor victim of human trafficking, under § 14-43.15, or whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver commits, permits, or encourages the commission of a violation of the following laws regarding sexual offenses by, with, or upon the child:

  • Forcible rape, statutory rape of a child by an adult, or first-degree statutory rape
  • A forcible sex offense, statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult, or first-degree statutory sexual offense
  • Sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian
  • Sexual activity with a student
  • Unlawful sale, surrender, or purchase of a minor
  • A crime against nature or incest
  • Preparation of obscene photographs, slides, or motion pictures of the juvenile
  • Employing or permitting the juvenile to assist in a violation of the obscenity laws
  • Dissemination of obscene material to the juvenile
  • Displaying or disseminating material harmful to the juvenile
  • First- and second-degree sexual exploitation of the juvenile
  • Promoting the prostitution of the juvenile
  • Taking indecent liberties with the juvenile

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abused juvenile’ includes any child younger than age 18 whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver creates or allows to be created serious emotional damage to the child. Serious emotional damage is evidenced by a child’s severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggressive behavior toward him- or herself or others.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-101
The term ‘neglected juvenile’ includes a child who has been abandoned.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-301
A report is required when any person has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent or has died as the result of maltreatment.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Responsible individual’ means a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker who abuses or seriously neglects a juvenile.

The term ‘caretaker’ means any person other than a parent, guardian, or custodian who has responsibility for the health and welfare of a juvenile in a residential setting, including any of the following:

  • A stepparent, foster parent, or an adult member of the juvenile’s household
  • An adult relative entrusted with the juvenile’s care
  • A potential adoptive parent during a visit or trial placement with a juvenile in the custody of a county child welfare agency
  • Any person such as a house parent or cottage parent who has primary responsibility for supervising a juvenile’s health and welfare in a residential child care facility or residential educational facility
  • Any employee or volunteer of a division, institution, or school operated by the Department of Health and Human Services

 

Exceptions

 

No exceptions are specified in statute.

 

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North Dakota

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ means an individual younger than age 18 who is suffering from abuse, as defined in § 14-09-22(1), caused by a person responsible for the child’s welfare.

A child is abused when a parent, adult family or household member, guardian, or other custodian of any child willfully inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child mental injury or bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or serious bodily injury, as defined by § 12.1-01-04. A child is abused when a person who provides care, supervision, education, or guidance for a child unaccompanied by the child’s parent, adult family or household member, guardian, or custodian in exchange for money, goods, or other services and while providing such services commits an offense under this section.

‘Deprived child’ means a child who is a victim of human trafficking, as defined in title 12.1.

 

Neglect

‘Neglected child’ means a deprived child, as defined in chapter 27-20.

‘Deprived child’ means a child to whom the following apply:

  • Is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education, or other care or control necessary for the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or morals, and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the child’s parents, guardian, or other custodian
  • Has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law
  • Is without proper parental care, control, education, or other care and control necessary for the child’s well-being because of the physical, mental, emotional, or other illness or disability of the child’s parent or parents, and such lack of care is not due to a willful act of commission or act of omission by the child’s parents, and care is requested by a parent
  • Is in need of treatment and whose parents, guardian, or other custodian have refused to participate in treatment as ordered by the juvenile court
  • Was subject to prenatal exposure to chronic and severe use of alcohol or any controlled substance in a manner not lawfully prescribed by a practitioner
  • Is present in an environment that subjects the child to exposure to a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia

‘Prenatal exposure to a controlled substance’ means use of a controlled substance by a pregnant woman for a nonmedical purpose during pregnancy, as evidenced by withdrawal symptoms in the child at birth, results of a toxicology test performed on the mother at delivery of the child at birth, or medical effects or developmental delays during the child’s first year of life that medically indicate prenatal exposure to a controlled substance.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Sexually abused child’ means an individual younger than age 18 who is subjected by a person responsible for the child’s welfare or by any individual to sexual abuse, as described in §§ 12.1-20-01 through 12.1-20-07 (including gross sexual imposition, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual imposition, corruption or solicitation of minors, luring minors by computer or other electronic means, sexual abuse of wards, sexual exploitation by a therapist, or sexual assault) and §§ 12.1-20-11 through 12.1-20-12.2 (including incest, deviate sexual act, indecent exposure, or surreptitious intrusion) or sexual exploitation, as described in chapter 12.1-27.2 (sexual performances by children).

 

Emotional Abuse

A child is an ‘abused child’ when the person responsible for the child’s welfare inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child a mental injury.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Cent. Code § 27-20-02
The term ‘abandon’ means the following:

  • Failure by a noncustodial parent, without justifiable cause, to communicate significantly with the child or to provide for the care and support of the child as required by law
  • Actions by a custodial parent that include the following:
    • Leaving the child for an indefinite period without making firm and agreed-upon plans with the child’s immediate caregiver for the parents’ resumption of physical custody
    • Following the child’s birth or treatment at a hospital, failing to arrange for the child’s discharge within 10 days after the child no longer requires hospital care
    • Willfully failing to furnish food, shelter, clothing, or medical attention that is reasonably sufficient to meet the child’s needs

‘Abandoned infant’ means a child who has been abandoned before reaching age 1.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Cent. Code § 50-25.1-03
A report is required when a mandatory reporter knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected or has died as a result of abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘A person responsible for the child’s welfare’ means an individual who has responsibility for the care or supervision of a child and who is any of the following:

  • The child’s parent, an adult family member of the child, any member of the child’s household, the child’s guardian, or the child’s foster parent
  • An employee of, or any person providing care for the child in, a public or private school or child care setting

 

Exceptions

 

No exceptions are specified in statute.

 

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Northern Mariana Islands

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

A person commits the offense of child abuse if the person willfully and intentionally strikes, beats, or by any other act or omission inflicts physical pain, injury, or mental distress upon a child younger than age 18 who is in the person’s custody or over whom the person occupies a position of authority, when such pain or injury is clearly beyond the scope of reasonable corporal punishment, with the result that the child’s physical or mental health and well-being are harmed or threatened.

 

Neglect

A person commits the offense of child abuse if the person through willful or negligent act or omission fails to provide a child younger than age 18 who is in the person’s custody or over whom the person occupies a position of authority with adequate supervision, medical care, food, clothing, or shelter, with the result that the child’s physical or mental health and well-being are harmed or threatened.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

A person commits the offense of child abuse if the person commits any act that would constitute a criminal offense under title 6, §§ 1306 through 1311 (including sexual abuse of a minor and incest) against a child younger than age 18 who is in the person’s custody or over whom the person occupies a position of authority.

A person commits the crime of unlawful exploitation of a minor if, with the intent of producing a live performance, film, audio, video, electronic, or electromagnetic recording, photograph, negative, slide, book, newspaper, magazine, or other material that visually or aurally depicts the conduct listed below, the person knowingly induces or employs a child younger than age 18 to engage in, or photographs, films, records, or televises a child younger than age 18 engaged in, the following actual or simulated conduct:

  • Sexual penetration
  • The lewd touching of another person’s genitals, anus, or breast
  • The lewd touching by another person of the child’s genitals, anus, or breast
  • Masturbation
  • Bestiality
  • The lewd exhibition of the child’s genitals
  • Sexual masochism or sadism

A parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a child younger than age 18 commits the crime of unlawful exploitation of a minor if the person permits the child to engage in conduct described above knowing that the conduct is intended to be used in producing a live performance, film, audio, video, electronic, or electromagnetic recording, photograph, negative, slide, book, newspaper, magazine, or other material that visually or aurally depicts the conduct.

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Mental distress’ means an effect on the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by observable and substantial impairment of his or her ability to function within normal ranges of performance and behavior, with due regard to his or her culture.

 

Abandonment

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, § 5313
A report is required when a mandatory reporter comes into contact in a professional capacity with a child who the person knows or has reasonable cause to suspect is, or will become, a victim of child abuse.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Position of authority’ means an employer, youth leader, scout leader, coach, teacher, counselor, school administrator, religious leader, doctor, nurse, psychologist, guardian ad litem, babysitter, or a substantially similar position and a police officer or probation officer other than when the officer is exercising custodial control over a minor.

‘In the person’s custody’ means in the custody of the child’s parent (including natural parents, stepparents, and adopted parents), legal guardian, foster parent, an employee of a public or private residential home or facility, or any other person over age 18 responsible for the child’s welfare in a residential setting.

 

Exceptions

Child abuse does not include the exercise of reasonable and traditional parental discipline, which may be determined in reference to prevailing community and cultural standards.

 

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Ohio

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ includes any child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Is endangered, as defined § 2919.22
  • Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted by other than accidental means, that is inconsistent with the history given of it
  • Suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare because of the acts of his or her parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Is subjected to out-of-home-care child abuse

‘Endangering children’ includes any of the following acts committed against a child under age 18 or a mentally or physically handicapped child under age 21:

  • Abuse, torture, or cruel abuse
  • Corporal punishment, other physical disciplinary measure, or physical restraint in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period that creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child
  • Repeated and unwarranted disciplinary measures that, if continued, create a substantial risk of serious impairment of the child’s mental health or development
  • Allowing the child to be on the same parcel of real property and within 100 feet of, or, in the case of more than one housing unit on the same parcel of real property, in the same housing unit and within 100 feet of, the illegal manufacture of drugs, cultivation of marijuana, or possession of chemicals for the illegal manufacture when the person knows that the act is occurring, whether or not any person is prosecuted for or convicted of the violation

 

Neglect

‘Neglected child’ includes any child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who lacks proper parental care because of the faults or habits of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child’s health, morals, or well-being
  • Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child’s mental condition
  • Whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of statutes regarding the placement and adoption of children
  • Who, because of the omission of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare
  • Who is subjected to child neglect while in out-of-home care

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abused child’ includes a child who is the victim of sexual activity when such activity would constitute an offense, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted of the offense in order to find that the child is an abused child. Sexual activity means sexual conduct or sexual contact or both.

‘Sexual conduct’ means vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body of any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse.

‘Sexual contact’ means any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including, without limitation, the thigh, genitals, buttocks, pubic region, and, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.

A person commits the crime of ‘endangering children’ when the person does any of the following to a child: entice, coerce, permit, encourage, compel, hire, employ, use, or allow the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, sexually oriented, or nudity-oriented matter.

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Mental injury’ means any behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorder in a child caused by an act or omission that is described in § 2919.22 and is committed by a parent or other person who is responsible for the child’s care.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.03(A); 2151.011
The term ‘neglected child’ includes a child who is abandoned by his or her parents, guardian, or custodian.

A child shall be presumed abandoned when his or her parents have failed to visit or maintain contact with him or her for more than 90 days, regardless of whether the parents resume contact with the child after that period of 90 days.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.421
A report is required when a mandatory reporter acting in an official or professional capacity knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to suspect, that a child younger than age 18 or a person younger than age 21 with a developmental disability or physical impairment has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include the following:

  • The child’s parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Other persons responsible for the child’s care

 

Exceptions

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as subjecting a parent to criminal liability when, solely in the practice of religious beliefs, the parent fails to provide adequate medical or surgical care or treatment for the child. This section does not do any of the following:

  • Abrogate or limit any person’s responsibility to report child abuse or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed to have occurred and to report children who are known to face or are reasonably suspected or believed to be facing a threat of suffering abuse or neglect
  • Preclude any exercise of the authority of the State, any political subdivision, or any court to ensure that medical or surgical care or treatment is provided to a child when the child’s health requires it

A child exhibiting evidence of corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure by a parent is not an abused child if the measure is not prohibited under § 2919.22 (that prohibits cruel or excessive means of discipline).

 

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Oklahoma

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means harm or threatened harm to the health, safety, or welfare of a child by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare, including, but not limited to, nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation.

‘Harm or threatened harm to the health or safety of a child’ means any real or threatened physical, mental, or emotional injury or damage to the body or mind that is not accidental, including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, or dependency.

‘Heinous and shocking abuse’ includes, but is not limited to, aggravated physical abuse that results in serious bodily, mental, or emotional injury. ‘Serious bodily injury’ means injury that involves any of the following:

  • A substantial risk of death
  • Extreme physical pain
  • Protracted disfigurement
  • A loss or impairment of the function of a body member, organ, or mental faculty
  • An injury to an internal or external organ or the body
  • A bone fracture
  • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation
  • Chronic abuse, including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation that is repeated or continuing
  • Torture, including, but not limited to, inflicting, participating in, or assisting in inflicting intense physical or emotional pain upon a child repeatedly over a period of time for the purpose of coercing or terrorizing a child for the purpose of satisfying the craven, cruel, or prurient desires of the perpetrator or another person
  • Any other similar aggravated circumstance

 

Neglect

‘Neglect’ means any of the following:

  • The failure or omission to provide any of the following:
    • Adequate nurturance and affection, food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, hygiene, or appropriate education
    • Medical, dental, or behavioral health care
    • Supervision or appropriate caregivers
    • Special care made necessary by the physical or mental condition of the child
  • The failure or omission to protect a child from exposure to any of the following:
    • The use, possession, sale, or manufacture of illegal drugs
    • Illegal activities
    • Sexual acts or materials that are not age-appropriate
  • Abandonment

‘Heinous and shocking neglect’ includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • Chronic neglect, including a persistent pattern of family functioning, in which the caregiver has not met or sustained the basic needs of a child that results in harm to the child
  • Neglect that has resulted in a diagnosis for the child of failure to thrive
  • An act or failure to act by a parent that results in the death or near death of a child or sibling, or serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, or presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a child
  • Any other similar aggravating circumstance

‘Drug-endangered child’ means a child who is at risk of suffering physical, psychological, or sexual harm as a result of the use, possession, distribution, manufacture, or cultivation of controlled substances, or the attempt of any of these acts, by a person responsible for the health, safety, or welfare of the child. This term includes circumstances in which the substance abuse of the person responsible for the health, safety, or welfare of the child interferes with that person’s ability to parent and provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or safety’ includes, but is not limited to, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.

‘Sexual abuse’ includes, but is not limited to, rape, incest, and lewd or indecent acts or proposals made to a child, as defined by law, by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare.

‘Sexual exploitation’ includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • Allowing, permitting, encouraging, or forcing a child to engage in prostitution, as defined by law, by any person age 18 or older or by a person responsible for the health, safety, or welfare of a child
  • Allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging in the lewd, obscene, or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child in those acts by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare

‘Trafficking in persons’ means sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking in persons, as described in 22 U.S.C. § 7102, including the following:

  • ‘Sex trafficking’ means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.
  • ‘Severe forms of trafficking in persons’ means any of the following:
    • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such act has not reached age 18
    • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or safety’ includes, but is not limited to, mental injury.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-1-105
‘Abandonment’ means any of the following:

  • The willful intent by words, actions, or omissions not to return for a child
  • The failure to maintain a significant parental relationship with a child through visitation or communication in which incidental or token visits or communication are not considered significant
  • The failure to respond to notice of deprived proceedings

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-2-101
A report is required when any person has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Person responsible for a child’s health, safety, or welfare’ includes the following:

  • A parent, legal guardian, custodian, or foster parent
  • A person age 18 or older with whom the child’s parent cohabits or any other adult residing in the home of the child
  • An agent or employee of a public or private residential home, institution, facility, or day treatment program or an owner, operator, or employee of a child care facility

 

Exceptions

Nothing contained in this act shall prohibit any parent, teacher, or other person from using ordinary force as a means of discipline, including, but not limited to, spanking, switching, or paddling.

A child is not considered abused or neglected for the sole reason that the parent, in good faith, selects and depends upon spiritual means alone through prayer, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, for the treatment or cure of disease or remedial care of such child. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall prevent a court from immediately assuming custody of a child and ordering whatever action may be necessary, including medical treatment, to protect the child’s health or welfare.

No medical treatment of a child with a disability shall be necessary if, in the reasonable medical judgment of the attending physician, such treatment would be futile in saving the life of the child.

 

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Oregon

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means any of the following:

  • An assault of a child and physical injury to a child that has been caused by other than accidental means, including injury that appears to be inconsistent with the explanation given of the injury
  • Threatened harm to a child that means subjecting a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare
  •  Buying or selling a person under age 18, as described in § 163.537
  • Permitting a person under age 18 to enter or remain in or upon premises where methamphetamine is being manufactured
  •  Unlawful exposure to a controlled substance or to the unlawful manufacturing of a cannabinoid extract that subjects a child to a substantial risk of harm to his or her health or safety

 

Neglect

The term ‘abuse’ includes negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including, but not limited to, the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care that is likely to endanger the health or welfare of the child.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse’ includes any of the following:

  • Rape of a child, which includes, but is not limited to, rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, and incest
  • Sexual abuse, as described in chapter 163
  • Sexual exploitation, including, but not limited to:
    • Contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor
    • Conduct that allows, employs, authorizes, permits, induces, or encourages a child to engage in the performing for people to observe, or the photographing, filming, tape recording, or other exhibition that, in whole or in part, depicts sexual conduct or contact, sexual abuse involving a child, or rape of a child
    • Allowing, permitting, encouraging, or hiring a child to engage in prostitution or a commercial sex act; to purchase sex with a minor; or to engage in commercial sexual solicitation

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abuse’ includes any mental injury to a child that shall include only observable and substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function caused by cruelty to the child, with due regard to the culture of the child.

 

Abandonment

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.010
A report is required when a public or private official has reasonable cause to believe that any child with whom the official comes in contact has suffered abuse or that any person with whom the official comes in contact has abused a child.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Responsible person’ may include any person.

 

Exceptions

Abuse does not include reasonable exercise of parental discipline.

 

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Pennsylvania

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

The term ‘child abuse’ shall mean intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly doing any of the following:

  • Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act
  • Fabricating, feigning, or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease that results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act
  • Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act
  • Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act
  • Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act
  • Causing serious physical neglect of a child
  • Engaging in any of the following recent acts:
    • Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing, or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child
    • Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location, or the duration of the restraint or confinement
    • Forcefully shaking a child younger than age 1
    • Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child younger than age 1
    • Interfering with the breathing of a child
    • Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement
    • Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child’s parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known:
      • Is required to register as a tier II or tier III sexual offender, when the victim of the sexual offense was younger than age 18 when the crime was committed
      • Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator
      • Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child
  • Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act
  •  Engaging a child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under Federal law (22 U.S.C. § 7102)

 

Neglect

‘Serious physical neglect’ means any of the following when committed by a perpetrator that endangers a child’s life or health; threatens a child’s well-being; causes bodily injury; or impairs a child’s health, development, or functioning:

  • A repeated, prolonged, or egregious failure to supervise a child in a manner that is appropriate, considering the child’s developmental age and abilities
  • The failure to provide a child with adequate essentials of life, including food, shelter, or medical care

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Sexual abuse or exploitation’ means any of the following:

  • The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a child to engage in or assist another individual to engage in sexually explicit conduct, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Looking at the sexual or other intimate parts of a child or another individual for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire in any individual
    • Participating in sexually explicit conversation either in person, by telephone, by computer, or by a computer-aided device for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any individual
    • Actual or simulated sexual activity or nudity for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any individual
    • Actual or simulated sexual activity for the purpose of producing visual depiction, including photographing, videotaping, computer depicting, or filming
  • Any of the following offenses committed against a child:
    • Rape, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121
    • Statutory sexual assault, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1
    • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123
    • Sexual assault, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1
    • Institutional sexual assault, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2
    • Aggravated indecent assault, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125
    • Indecent assault, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126
    • Indecent exposure, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3127
    • Incest, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 4302
    • Prostitution, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902
    • Sexual abuse of children, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312
    • Unlawful contact with a minor, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6318
    • Sexual exploitation of children, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6320

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘child abuse’ includes causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.

‘Serious mental injury’ means a psychological condition, as diagnosed by a physician or licensed psychologist, including the refusal of appropriate treatment that results in the following:

  • Renders a child chronically and severely anxious, agitated, depressed, socially withdrawn, psychotic, or in reasonable fear that the child’s life or safety is threatened
  • Seriously interferes with a child’s ability to accomplish age-appropriate developmental and social tasks

 

Abandonment

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6311
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Perpetrator’ means a person who has committed child abuse, as defined in this section. The term includes only the following:

  • A parent of the child
  • A spouse or former spouse of the child’s parent
  • A paramour or former paramour of the child’s parent
  • A person age 14 or older and responsible for the child’s welfare
  • An individual who is age 14 or older who resides in the same home as the child
  • An individual age 18 or older who does not reside in the same home as the child but is related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity by birth or adoption to the child
  • An individual age 18 or older who engages a child in severe forms of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined in Federal law (22 U.S.C. § 7102)

Only the following may be considered a perpetrator for failing to act, as provided in this section:

  • A parent of the child
  • A spouse or former spouse of the child’s parent
  • A paramour or former paramour of the child’s parent
  • A person age 18 or older who is responsible for the child’s welfare
  • A person age 18 or older who resides in the same home as the child

A ‘person responsible for the child’s welfare’ is a person who provides permanent or temporary care; supervision; mental health diagnosis or treatment; training; or control of a child in lieu of parental care, supervision, and control.

 

Exceptions

The term ‘sexual abuse’ does not include consensual activities between a child who is age 14 or older and another person who is age 14 or older and whose age is within 4 years of the child’s age.

No child shall be deemed to be abused based on injuries that result solely from environmental factors, such as inadequate housing, clothing, and medical care, which are beyond the control of the parent.

If, upon investigation, the county agency determines that a child has not been provided needed medical care because of sincerely held religious beliefs of the child’s parents, which beliefs are consistent with those of a bona fide religion, the child shall not be deemed to be physically or mentally abused. In such cases, the county agency shall closely monitor the child and the child’s family and shall seek court-ordered medical intervention when the lack of medical care threatens the child’s life or long-term health. The family shall be referred for general protective services, if appropriate. This subsection shall not apply if the failure to provide needed medical care causes the death of the child.

The use of reasonable force on or against a child by the child’s own parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare shall not be considered child abuse if any of the following conditions apply:

  • The use of reasonable force constitutes incidental, minor, or reasonable physical contact with the child that is designed to maintain order and control.
  • The use of reasonable force is necessary:
    • To quell a disturbance or remove the child from the scene of a disturbance that threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property
    • To prevent the child from self-inflicted physical harm
    • For self-defense or the defense of another individual
    • To obtain possession of weapons, dangerous objects, or controlled substances or paraphernalia that are on or within the control of the child

 

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Puerto Rico

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means any intentional act or omission by the father, mother, or other person in charge of the minor of such a nature that it causes or puts a minor at risk of suffering damage or harm to his or her health or physical, mental, and/or emotional integrity, including sexual abuse. Abuse also shall mean any of the following:

  • Allowing another person to cause or to put the minor at risk of suffering damage or harm to his or her health or physical, mental, and/or emotional integrity
  • Willfully abandoning a minor
  • Allowing the father, mother, or other person in charge of the well-being of the minor to exploit him or her
  • Allowing another person to exploit the minor by forcing or allowing the minor to perform any act, including, but not limited to, obscene acts for profit or in order to receive any other benefit, or to incur in any conduct that, if criminally prosecuted, would constitute a crime against the health or physical, mental, or emotional integrity of the minor, including sexual abuse of the minor

Minors will also be considered to be victims of abuse if the father, mother, or person responsible for the minor has engaged in acts that constitute domestic violence in the presence of minors.

‘Physical harm’ means any nonaccidental trauma, injury, or condition, including inadequate nourishment that, if left unattended, could result in death, disfigurement, illness, or temporary or permanent disability of any part or function of the body, including inadequate nourishment. The trauma, injury, or condition may also be the result of a single episode or several episodes.

 

Neglect

‘Neglect’ means a type of abuse that consists of failing to perform the duties or to exercise the capacity to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or health care to a minor; failing to exercise supervision; or failing to visit the minor or to remain in contact or frequent communication with the minor.

It is also considered neglect when the parent fails to comply with the duties or exercise the powers provided in title 31, § 601(1). These duties include, but are not limited to, the duty of having the minor in his or her company according to law; of supervising his or her education and development; and of adequately providing sustenance, clothing, shelter, education, or health care, according to his or her wealth or with the means provided by the Commonwealth or any natural or juridical person. Health care includes any treatment or preventive measure required to attend to or prevent any condition involving the physical, mental, or emotional health of the minor.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse’ also means to engage in obscene behavior and/or use the minor to carry out obscene acts.

‘Sexual abuse’ means engaging in sexual conduct in the presence of a child and/or using the child, voluntarily or otherwise, to engage in sexual conduct aimed at satisfying lewdness or any other act that, if criminally prosecuted, would constitute any of the following crimes: sexual assault, lewd acts, indecent exposure, or indecent proposals or remitting, transporting, selling, distributing, publishing, exhibiting, or possessing obscene materials and obscene shows.

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Mental or emotional harm’ means the impairment of the intellectual or emotional capacity of a minor, given what is considered normal for his or her age or cultural environment. Moreover, emotional harm is deemed to exist when there is evidence that the minor recurrently manifests or exhibits behaviors such as fear, feelings of abandonment or hopelessness, frustration and failure, anxiety, insecurity, withdrawal, regressive behavior, or aggressive behavior toward himself or herself or toward others, or any other similar behavior.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444
‘Abandonment’ means willful dereliction of or being remiss in the responsibilities that the father, mother, or other person in charge of the minor have, taking into account the minor’s age and need for adult care. The intention to abandon can be evidenced by, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • A lack of communication with the minor for a period of at least 3 months
  • A lack of participation in a plan or program designed to reunite the minor with the father, mother, or other person in charge of the well-being of the minor
  • A failure to respond to notices of hearings for protection of the minor
  • When the minor is found in circumstances that make it impossible to ascertain the identity of the father or mother; when the identity is known, but the whereabouts of the person is unknown, in spite of effort to locate him or her; or when the father or mother fails to claim the minor within 30 days after the minor is found

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 446
A report is required when a mandatory reporter learns or comes to suspect that a minor has been or is at risk of becoming a victim of abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include the minor’s father, mother, or person responsible for the welfare of the minor.

 

Exceptions

No person may be deprived of patria potestas for the legitimate practice of his or her religious beliefs. However, when due to the above, the person fails to provide the minor with specifically prescribed health care, the court shall provide adequate remedies to attend to the health of the minor and, in appropriate cases, shall deprive the person of his or her de jure or de facto guardianship, or even of patria potestas, as may be best for the minor’s health.

 

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Rhode Island

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused and/or neglected child’ means a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare does any of the following:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical or mental injury, including excessive corporal punishment
  • Creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of physical or mental injury to the child, including excessive corporal punishment

‘Shaken baby syndrome’ means a form of abusive head trauma characterized by a constellation of symptoms caused by other than accidental traumatic injury resulting from the violent shaking and/or impact upon an infant or young child’s head.

 

Neglect

The term ‘abused and/or neglected child’ includes a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when the child’s parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare does any of the following:

  • Fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, although financially able to do so or offered financial or other reasonable means to do so
  • Fails to provide the child with a minimum degree of care or proper supervision or guardianship because of his or her unwillingness or inability to do so by situations or conditions such as, but not limited to, social problems, mental incompetency, or the use of a drug, drugs, or alcohol to the extent that the parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare loses his or her ability or is unwilling to properly care for the child

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abused and/or neglected child’ includes a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare does any of the following:

  • Commits or allows to be committed against the child an act of sexual abuse
  • Sexually exploits the child in that the person allows, permits, or encourages the child to engage in prostitution
  • Sexually exploits the child in that the person allows, permits, encourages, or engages in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depiction of the child in a setting that, taken as a whole, suggests to the average person that the child is about to engage in or has engaged in any sexual act or that depicts any such child under age 18 performing sodomy, oral copulation, sexual intercourse, masturbation, or bestiality
  • Commits or allows to be committed any sexual offense against the child
  • Commits or allows to be committed against any child an act involving sexual penetration or sexual contact if the child is under age 15; or if the child is age 15 or older, and (1) force or coercion is used by the perpetrator or (2) the perpetrator knows or has reason to know that the victim is a severely impaired person or physically helpless

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Mental injury’ includes a state of substantially diminished psychological or intellectual functioning related to, but not limited to, such factors as failure to thrive, ability to think or reason, control of aggressive or self-destructive impulses, acting out, or misbehavior, which includes incorrigibility, ungovernability, or habitual truancy. The injury must be clearly attributable to the unwillingness or inability of the parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare to exercise a minimum degree of care toward the child.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-2
The term ‘abused and/or neglected child’ includes a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare abandons or deserts the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-3
A report is required when any person has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Person responsible for child’s welfare’ includes any of the following:

  • The child’s parent or guardian
  • Any individual, age 18 or older, who resides in the home of a parent or guardian and has unsupervised access to a child
  • A foster parent
  • An employee of a public or private residential home or facility
  • Any staff person providing out-of-home care

 

Exceptions

 

No exceptions are specified in statute.

 

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South Carolina

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Child abuse or neglect’ or ‘harm’ occurs under the following circumstances:

  • The parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare does any of the following:
    • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical or mental injury or engages in acts or omissions that present a substantial risk of physical or mental injury to the child, including injuries sustained as a result of excessive corporal punishment
    • Abandons the child
    • Encourages, condones, or approves the commission of delinquent acts by the child and the commission of the acts are shown to be the result of the encouragement or approval
    • Has committed abuse or neglect, as described above, such that a child who subsequently becomes part of the person’s household is at substantial risk of one of those forms of abuse or neglect
  • A child is a victim of trafficking in persons, as defined in § 16-3-2010, including sex trafficking, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare.

Identifying a child as a victim of trafficking in persons does not create a presumption that the parent, guardian, or other individual responsible for the child’s welfare abused, neglected, or harmed the child.

‘Physical injury’ means death or permanent or temporary disfigurement or impairment of any bodily organ or function.

 

Neglect

‘Child abuse or neglect’ or ‘harm’ occurs when the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education as required by law; supervision appropriate to the child’s age and development; or health care though financially able to do so or offered financial or other reasonable means to do so, and the failure to do so has caused or presents a substantial risk of causing physical or mental injury.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Child abuse or neglect’ or ‘harm’ occurs when the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare commits or allows to be committed against the child a sexual offense, as defined by the laws of this State, or engages in acts or omissions that present a substantial risk that a sexual offense, as defined in the laws of this State, would be committed against the child.

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Mental injury’ means an injury to the intellectual, emotional, or psychological capacity or functioning of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment of the child’s ability to function when the existence of that impairment is supported by the opinion of a mental health professional or medical professional.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-20
‘Abandonment of a child’ means a parent or guardian willfully deserts a child or willfully surrenders physical possession of a child without making adequate arrangements for the child’s needs or the continuing care of the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-310
A report is required when a mandatory reporter, in his or her person’s professional capacity, has received information that gives him or her reason to believe that a child has been or may be abused or neglected.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

The term ‘person responsible for a child’s welfare’ includes the following:

  • The child’s parent, guardian, or foster parent
  • An operator, employee, or caregiver, as defined by § 63-13-20, of a public or private residential home, institution, agency, or child care facility
  • An adult who has assumed the role or responsibility of a parent or guardian for the child but who does not necessarily have legal custody of the child

A person has not assumed the role or responsibility of a parent or guardian if that person’s only role is as a caregiver whose contact is only incidental, such as a babysitter, or the person has only incidental contact but may not be a caregiver.

 

Exceptions

The term ‘child abuse or neglect’ excludes corporal punishment or physical discipline that consists of the following:

  • Is administered by a parent or person in loco parentis
  • Is perpetrated for the sole purpose of restraining or correcting the child
  • Is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree
  • Has not brought about permanent or lasting damage to the child
  • Is not reckless or grossly negligent behavior by the parents

A child’s absences from school may not be considered abuse or neglect unless the school has made efforts to bring about the child’s attendance, and those efforts were unsuccessful because of the parents’ refusal to cooperate.

 

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South Dakota

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused or neglected child’ means a child to whom the following applies:

  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has subjected the child to mistreatment or abuse
  • Who was subject to prenatal exposure to abusive use of alcohol, marijuana, any controlled drug, or a substance not lawfully prescribed by a practitioner

 

Neglect

The term ‘abused or neglected child’ includes a child to whom the following applies:

  • Who lacks proper parental care through the actions or omissions of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose environment is injurious to the child’s welfare
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian fails or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, supervision, education, medical care, or any other care necessary for the child’s health, guidance, or well-being
  • Who is homeless, without proper care, or not domiciled with the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian through no fault of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian knowingly exposes the child to an environment that is being used for the manufacture, use, or distribution of methamphetamine or any other unlawfully manufactured controlled drug or substance

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abused or neglected child’ includes a child who is subject to sexual abuse, sexual molestation, or sexual exploitation by the child’s parent, guardian, custodian, or any other person responsible for the child’s care.

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abused or neglected child’ includes a child who has sustained emotional harm or mental injury as indicated by an injury to the child’s intellectual or psychological capacity, as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child’s ability to function within the child’s normal range of performance and behavior, with due regard to the child’s culture.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-2
The term ‘abused or neglected child’ includes a child whose parent, guardian, or custodian has abandoned the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-3
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include a child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

 

Exceptions

 

No exceptions are specified in statute.

 

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Tennessee

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ exists when a person under age 18 is suffering from, has sustained, or may be in immediate danger of suffering from or sustaining a wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition caused by brutality, neglect, or other actions or inactions of a parent, relative, guardian, or caregiver.

‘Severe child abuse’ means any of the following:

  • The knowing exposure of a child to, or the knowing failure to protect a child from, abuse or neglect that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death and the knowing use of force on a child that is likely to cause serious bodily injury
  • Specific brutality, abuse, or neglect toward a child that, in the opinion of qualified experts, has caused or will reasonably be expected to produce severe psychosis, severe neurotic disorder, severe depression, severe developmental delay or retardation, or severe impairment of the child’s ability to function adequately in the child’s environment and the knowing failure to protect a child from such conduct
  • The commission of any act toward the child prohibited by §§ 39-13-309 (trafficking for a commercial sex act), 39-13-502 (aggravated rape), 39-13-504 (aggravated sexual battery), 39-13-515 (promoting prostitution), 39-13-522 (rape of a child), 39-15-302 (incest), 39-15-402 (aggravated child abuse, neglect, or endangerment), and 39-17-1005 (aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor) or the knowing failure to protect the child from the commission of any such act towards the child
  • Knowingly allowing a child to be present within a structure where the act of creating methamphetamine is occurring

‘Significant injury’ means bodily injury, including a cut, abrasion, bruise, burn, or disfigurement, and physical pain or temporary illness or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, involving any of the following:

  • A substantial risk of death
  • Protracted unconsciousness
  • Extreme physical pain
  • Protracted or obvious disfigurement
  •  Protracted loss or substantial impairment of a function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty

 

Neglect

‘Dependent and neglected child’ means a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who is without a parent, guardian, or legal custodian
  • Whose parent, guardian, or person with whom the child lives, by reason of cruelty, mental incapacity, immorality, or depravity, is unfit to care properly for the child
  • Who is under unlawful or improper care, supervision, custody, or restraint by any person, corporation, agency, association, institution, society, or other organization or who is unlawfully kept out of school
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian neglects or refuses to provide necessary medical, surgical, institutional, or hospital care
  • Who, because of lack of proper supervision, is found in a place the existence of which is in violation of law
  • Who is in a condition of such want or suffering, or is under such improper guardianship or control, as to injure or endanger the morals or health of the child or others
  • Who is suffering from abuse or neglect
  • Who has been in the care and control of one or more agencies or persons not related by blood or marriage for a continuous period of 6 months or longer in the absence of a power of attorney or court order, and that person or agency has not initiated judicial proceedings seeking either legal custody or adoption of the child
  • Who is or has been allowed, encouraged, or permitted to engage in prostitution or obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, posing, or similar activity and whose parent or guardian neglects or refuses to protect the child from further such activity
  • Who willfully has been left in the sole financial and physical care of a related caregiver for not less than 18 consecutive months by the child’s parent(s) or legal custodian, and the child will suffer substantial harm if removed from the continuous care of such relative

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Child sexual abuse’ means the commission of any act involving the unlawful sexual abuse, molestation, fondling, or carnal knowledge of a child under age 13 that, on or after November 1, 1989, constituted any of the following criminal offenses:

  • Aggravated rape, sexual battery, or sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Criminal attempt for any of the offenses listed above
  • Especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Incest
  • Rape, sexual battery, or sexual exploitation of a minor

The term ‘child sexual abuse’ also means one or more of the following acts:

  • Any penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anal opening of one person by the penis of another person, whether or not there is the emission of semen
  • Any contact between the genitals or anal opening of one person and the mouth or tongue of another person
  • Any intrusion by one person into the genitals or anal opening of another person, including the use of any object for this purpose
  • Intentional touching of the genitals or intimate parts, including the breasts, genital area, groin, inner thighs, and buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of either the child or the perpetrator
  • Intentional exposure of the perpetrator’s genitals in the presence of a child, or any other sexual act intentionally perpetrated in the presence of a child if such exposure or sexual act is for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, aggression, degradation, or other similar purpose
  • Sexual exploitation of a child, which includes allowing, encouraging, or forcing a child to solicit for or engage in prostitution or engage in sexual exploitation
  • The commission of any act toward the child prohibited by § 39-13-309 (trafficking for a commercial sex act)

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘severe child abuse’ means specific brutality, abuse, or neglect toward a child that, in the opinion of qualified experts, has caused or will reasonably be expected to produce severe psychosis, severe neurotic disorder, severe depression, severe developmental delay or intellectual disability, or severe impairment of the child’s ability to function adequately in the child’s environment and the knowing failure to protect a child from such conduct.

‘Mental injury’ means an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment in the child’s ability to function within the child’s normal range of performance and behavior, with due regard to the child’s culture.

 

Abandonment

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 37-1-403; 37-1-605
A report is required when any person has knowledge of, or is called upon to render aid to, any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect.

A report is required when any person knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Caregiver’ means any relative or other person living, visiting, or working in the child’s home who supervises or otherwise provides care or assistance for the child, such as a babysitter, or who is an employee or volunteer with the responsibility for any child at an educational, recreational, medical, religious, therapeutic, or other setting where children are present. ‘Caregiver’ also may include a person who has allegedly used the child for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor or trafficking a minor for a commercial sex act, including, but not limited to, as a trafficker. For purposes of this chapter, ‘caregiver’ and ‘caretaker’ shall have the same meaning.

Responsible persons include any of the following:

  • The child’s parent, relative, guardian, or caregiver
  • A person with whom the child lives
  • Any ‘other person responsible for a child’s care or welfare’ that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    • A legal custodian or foster parent
    • An employee of a public or private child care agency or public or private school
    • Any other person legally responsible for the child’s welfare in a residential setting

 

Exceptions

Child sexual abuse does not include acts intended for a valid medical purpose or acts that may reasonably be construed to be normal caregiver responsibilities or interactions with or affection for a child.

 

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Texas

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means the following acts or omissions by a person:

  • Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is inconsistent with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm
  • Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury or substantial harm to the child
  • The current use by a person of a controlled substance in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child
  • Causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance
  • Forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage

‘Exploitation’ means the illegal or improper use of a child or of the resources of a child for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of a facility or program.

 

Neglect

‘Neglect’ means the following acts or omissions by the person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare:

  • Placing a child in, or failing to remove a child from, a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child
  • Failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child, with the failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child
  • Failing to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability, unless relief services had been offered and refused
  • Placing a child in, or failing to remove the child from, a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child
  • Placing a child in, or failing to remove the child from, a situation in which the child would be exposed to acts or omissions that constitute sexual abuse
  • Permitting the child to return to the child’s home without arranging for the necessary care for the child after the child has been absent from the home for any reason, including having been in residential placement or having run away
  • A negligent act or omission by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of a facility or program, including failure to comply with an individual treatment plan, plan of care, or individualized service plan, that causes or may cause substantial emotional harm or physical injury to, or the death of, a child served by the facility or program

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse’ includes the following acts or omissions by a person:

  • Sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child (§ 21.02, Penal Code), indecency with a child (§ 21.11, Penal Code), sexual assault (§ 22.011, Penal Code), or aggravated sexual assault (§ 22.021, Penal Code)
  • Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child
  • Compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct (as defined by § 43.01, Penal Code), including conduct that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons (§ 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), Penal Code), prostitution (§ 43.02(b), Penal Code), or compelling prostitution (§ 43.05(a)(2), Penal Code)
  • Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene (as defined by § 43.21, Penal Code) or pornographic
  • Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child (as defined by § 43.25, Penal Code)
  • Knowingly causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a child to be trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under § 20A.02(a)(5), (6), (7), or (8), Penal Code, or the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent a child from being trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under any of those sections

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abuse’ includes the following acts or omissions by a person:

  • Mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning
  • Causing or permitting a child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning

‘Severe emotional disturbance’ means a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to result in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits a person’s role or ability to function in family, school, or community activities.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Fam. Code § 261.001
The term ‘neglect’ includes leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or conservator of the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Fam. Code § 261.101
A report is required when there is cause to believe that the child’s physical or mental health has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare’ means a person who traditionally is responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare, including the following:

  • A parent, guardian, conservator, or foster parent of the child
  • A member of the child’s family or household, meaning persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other, and includes persons who previously lived in the household
  • A person with whom the child’s parent cohabits
  • School personnel or a volunteer at the child’s school
  • Personnel or a volunteer at a public or private child care facility that provides services for the child or at a public or private residential institution or facility where the child resides
  • An employee, volunteer, or other person working under the supervision of a licensed or unlicensed child care facility, including a family home, residential child care facility, employer-based daycare facility, or shelter daycare facility

 

Exceptions

Abuse does not include reasonable discipline by a parent that does not expose the child to substantial risk of harm.

‘Neglect’ does not include the refusal by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to remain in or return to the child’s home resulting in the placement of the child in the conservatorship of the department if the following apply:

  • The child has a severe emotional disturbance.
  • The person’s refusal is based solely on the person’s inability to obtain mental health services necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the child.
  • The person has exhausted all reasonable means available to the person to obtain the needed mental health services.

 

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Utah

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means any of the following:

  • Nonaccidental harm of a child
  • Threatened harm of a child
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sexual abuse
  • Human trafficking of a child in violation of § 76-5-308.5
  • That a child’s natural parent:
    • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes the death of another parent of the child
    • Is identified by a law enforcement agency as the primary suspect in an investigation for intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing the death of another parent of the child
    • Is being prosecuted for or has been convicted of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing the death of another parent of the child

‘Abused child’ means a child who has been subjected to abuse.

‘Harm’ means any of the following:

  • Physical or developmental injury or damage
  • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation

‘Physical abuse’ means abuse that results in physical injury or damage to a child.

‘Severe abuse’ means abuse that causes or threatens to cause serious harm to a child.

 

Neglect

‘Neglect’ means action or inaction causing any of the following:

  • Lack of proper parental care of a child by reason of the fault or habits of the parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Failure or refusal of a parent, guardian, or custodian to provide proper or necessary subsistence or medical care or any other care necessary for the child’s health, safety, morals, or well-being
  • A child at risk of being neglected or abused because another child in the same home is neglected or abused
  • Educational neglect

‘Neglected child’ means a child who has been subjected to neglect.

‘Severe neglect’ means neglect that causes or threatens to cause serious harm to a child.

‘Educational neglect’ means that, after receiving a notice of compulsory education violation under § 53G-6-202, the parent or guardian fails to make a good-faith effort to ensure that the child receives an appropriate education.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Sexual abuse’ means any of the following:

  • An act or attempted act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, incest, or molestation by an adult directed toward a child
  • An act or attempted act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, incest, or molestation committed by a child toward another child if any of the following apply:
    • There is an indication of force or coercion.
    • The children are related, including siblings by marriage while the marriage exists or by adoption.
    • There have been repeated incidents of sexual contact between the two children, unless the children are age 14 or older.
    • There is a disparity in chronological age of 4 or more years between the two children.
  • Engaging in any conduct with a child that would constitute an offense under any of the following terms, regardless of whether the person who engages in the conduct is actually charged with or convicted of the offense:
    • Any sexual offense
    • Child bigamy
    • Incest
    • Lewdness or sexual battery
    • Lewdness involving a child
    • Voyeurism
  • Forcing a child to participate in or threatening to force a child to participate in a sexual relationship, regardless of whether that sexual relationship is part of a legal or cultural marriage

‘Sexual exploitation’ means to knowingly do the following:

  • Employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any child to do the following:
    • Pose in the nude for the purpose of sexual arousal of any individual
    • Engage in any sexual or simulated sexual conduct for the purpose of photographing, filming, recording, or displaying in any way the sexual or simulated sexual conduct
  • Display, distribute, possess for the purpose of distribution, or sell material depicting a child as follows:
    • In the nude, for the purpose of sexual arousal of any person
    • Engaging in sexual or simulated sexual conduct
  • Engage in conduct that would constitute an offense under § 76-5b-201, Sexual Exploitation of Children, regardless of whether the person who engages in the conduct is actually charged with or convicted of the offense

‘Incest’ means engaging in sexual intercourse with an individual whom the perpetrator knows to be the perpetrator’s ancestor, descendant, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or first cousin. These relationships include any of the following:

  • Blood relationships of the whole or half blood, without regard to legitimacy
  • Relationships of parent and child by adoption
  • Relationships of stepparent and stepchild while the marriage creating the relationship of a stepparent and stepchild exists

‘Molestation’ means that an individual, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any individual, touches the anus, buttocks, pubic area, or genitalia of any child or the breast of a female child or takes indecent liberties with a child, as defined in § 76-5-416.

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Harm’ includes emotional damage that results in a serious impairment in the child’s growth, development, behavior, or psychological functioning.

‘Mental disorder’ means a serious emotional and mental disturbance that severely limits a minor’s development and welfare over a significant period of time.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code § 78A-6-105
The term ‘neglect’ includes the following:

  • Abandonment of a child, except as provided in title 62A, chapter 4a, part 8, Safe Relinquishment of a Newborn Child
  • Abandonment of a child through an unregulated custody transfer

‘Unregulated custody transfer’ means the placement of a child with an individual who is not the child’s parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult sibling, adult uncle or aunt, or legal guardian; or a friend of the family who is an adult and with whom the child is familiar; or a member of the child’s federally recognized Tribe with the intent of severing the child’s existing parent-child or guardian-child relationship and without taking (i) reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the child and permanency of the placement and (ii) the necessary steps to transfer the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood or guardianship to the individual taking custody of the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-403
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘A person responsible for a child’s care’ means the child’s parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s care, whether in the same home as the child; a relative’s home; a group, family, or center daycare facility; a foster care home; or a residential institution.

 

Exceptions

The term ‘abuse’ does not include the following:

  • Reasonable discipline or management of a child, including withholding privileges
  • The use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint or force on a child in self-defense, in defense of others, to protect the child, or to remove a weapon in the possession of a child in self-defense or defense of others

‘Neglect’ does not include any of the following:

  • A parent or guardian legitimately practicing religious beliefs and who, for that reason, does not provide specified medical treatment for a child
  • A health-care decision made for a child by the child’s parent or guardian, unless the State or other party to a proceeding shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that the health-care decision is not reasonable and informed
  • A parent or guardian exercising the right described in § 78A-6-301.5 (seeking a second medical opinion)
  • Permitting a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities, including any of the following:
    • Traveling to and from school, including by walking, running, or bicycling
    • Traveling to and from nearby commercial or recreational facilities
    • Engaging in outdoor play
    • Remaining in a vehicle unattended, except under the conditions described in § 76-10-2202(2)
    • Remaining at home unattended
    • Engaging in a similar independent activity

 

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Vermont

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused or neglected child’ means a child whose physical health, psychological growth and development, or welfare is harmed or is at substantial risk of harm by the acts or omissions of his or her parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare. An ‘abused or neglected child’ also means a child who has died as a result of abuse or neglect.

‘Harm’ can occur by physical injury.

‘Physical injury’ means death, permanent or temporary disfigurement, or impairment of any bodily organ or function by other than accidental means.

‘Serious physical injury’ means, by other than accidental means, any of the following:

  • Physical injury that creates any of the following:
    • A substantial risk of death
    • A substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ
    • A substantial impairment of health
    • Substantial disfigurement
  • Strangulation by intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person

‘Risk of harm’ means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm by other than accidental means, which harm would be likely to cause physical injury as the result of a single, egregious act that has caused the child to be at significant risk of serious physical injury.

 

Neglect

‘Harm’ can occur by failure to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care. As used in this subchapter, ‘adequate health care’ includes any medical or nonmedical remedial health care permitted or authorized under State law.

‘Risk of harm’ means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm by other than accidental means, which harm would be likely to cause physical injury, including as the result of any of the following:

  • The production or preproduction of methamphetamines when a child is actually present
  • Failing to provide supervision or care appropriate for the child’s age or development and, as a result, the child is at significant risk of serious physical injury
  • Failing to provide supervision or care appropriate for the child’s age or development due to the use of illegal substances or misuse of prescription drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to supervise appropriately a child in a situation in which drugs, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia are accessible to the child

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Sexual abuse’ consists of any act or acts by any person involving sexual molestation or exploitation of a child, including any of the following:

  • Incest
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child
  • Aiding, abetting, counseling, hiring, or procuring of a child to perform or participate in any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation that, in whole or in part, depicts sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse involving a child
  • Viewing, possessing, or transmitting child pornography
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexual assault
  • Voyeurism
  • Luring a child
  • Obscenity

‘Risk of harm’ means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm by other than accidental means, which harm would be likely to cause sexual abuse, including as the result of a registered sex offender or person substantiated for sexually abusing a child residing with or spending unsupervised time with a child.

 

Emotional Abuse

‘Harm’ can be caused by emotional maltreatment.

‘Emotional maltreatment’ means a pattern of malicious behavior that results in a child’s impaired psychological growth and development.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912
‘Harm’ can be caused by the abandonment of the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4913
A report is required when a mandatory reporter reasonably suspects abuse or neglect of a child.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘A person responsible for a child’s welfare’ includes the following:

  • The child’s parent, guardian, or foster parent
  • Any other adult residing in the home who serves in a parental role
  • An employee of a public or private residential home, institution, or agency
  • Any other person responsible for the child’s welfare while in a residential, educational, or child care setting, including any staff person

 

Exceptions

A parent or other person responsible for a child’s care legitimately practicing his or her religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not be considered neglectful for that reason alone.

The exchange of images that otherwise may be considered child pornography, when it occurs between mutually consenting minors, including the minor whose image is exchanged, is not considered to be sexual abuse.

 

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Virgin Islands

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means any physical injury inflicted on a child, other than by accidental means, by those responsible for the care and maintenance of the child, which causes or creates substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical health, or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

‘Imminent danger to that child’s life or health’ means danger that involves any of the following:

  • Substantial physical pain
  • Serious bodily injury resulting in physical disfigurement
  • Substantial impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ
  • Injury that may result in death

 

Neglect

‘Neglect’ means the failure of those responsible for the care and maintenance of the child to provide the necessary support, maintenance, education, and medical or behavioral health care, to the extent that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse’ includes the sexual abuse of a child, as defined by law, or the sexual exploitation of a child, including the prostituting of a child, and the photographing or other depiction of a child for pornographic purposes or a persistent course of sexual conduct that causes a child’s health or welfare to be harmed or threatened.

‘Imminent danger to that child’s life or health’ means danger that involves actual or attempted sexual abuse.

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abuse’ includes any mental injury inflicted on a child that causes or creates substantial risk of impairment of emotional health.

‘Imminent danger to that child’s life or health’ means danger that involves substantial impairment of the intellectual, psychological, or emotional capacity of a child caused by inhumane acts or conduct.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502
‘Abandoned child’ means a child whose parents, guardian, or custodian desert him or her for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to show an intent to evade the duty of rearing him or her or a reckless disregard for his or her needs.

It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the parent intends to abandon the child who has been left without any provision for his or her support or without communication from such parent for a period of 6 months. If, in the opinion of the court, the evidence indicates that the parent has made only minimal efforts to support or communicate with the child, the court may declare the child to be abandoned.

Abandonment is a form of neglect.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2533
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect or observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Person responsible for a child’s care’ includes the following:

  • The child’s parent, guardian, or custodian
  • A person or agency responsible for the child’s welfare or care, whether the child is in his or her own home, shelter care, a detention home, a relative’s home, a foster home, or a residential institution

 

Exceptions

 

No exceptions are specified in statute.

 

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Virginia

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused or neglected child’ means any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for his or her care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon the child a physical or mental injury by other than accidental means or creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment of bodily or mental functions, including, but not limited to, a child who is with his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her care either (i) during the manufacture or attempted manufacture of a Schedule I or II controlled substance or (ii) during the unlawful sale of such substance by that child’s parents or other person responsible for his or her care, when such manufacture, or attempted manufacture, or unlawful sale would constitute a felony violation.

 

Neglect

Abused or neglected child’ means any child younger than age 18 to whom any of the following apply:

  • Whose parents or other person responsible for his or her care neglects or refuses to provide care necessary for his or her health
  • Who is without parental care or guardianship caused by the unreasonable absence or the mental or physical incapacity of the child’s parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person standing in loco parentis
  • Whose parents or other person responsible for his or her care creates a substantial risk of physical or mental injury by knowingly leaving the child alone in the same dwelling, including an apartment, with a person to whom the child is not related by blood or marriage and who the parent or other person responsible for his or her care knows has been convicted of an offense against a minor for which registration is required as a violent sexual offender

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for his or her care commits or allows to be committed any act of sexual exploitation or any sexual act upon a child in violation of the law.

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abused or neglected child’ includes any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for his or her care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon the child a mental injury or creates a substantial risk of impairment of mental functions.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100
The term ‘abused or neglected child’ includes any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for his or her care abandons the child.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1509
A report is required when a mandatory reporter, in his or her professional or official capacity, has reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include the child’s parents or another person responsible for the care of the child.

 

Exceptions

No child who in good faith is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be an abused or neglected child. Further, a decision by parents who have legal authority for the child or, in the absence of parents with legal authority for the child, any person with legal authority for the child who refuses a particular medical treatment for a child with a life-threatening condition shall not be deemed a refusal to provide necessary care if the following apply:

  • The decision is made jointly by the parents, or other person with legal authority, and the child.
  • The child has reached age 14 and is sufficiently mature to have an informed opinion on the subject of his or her medical treatment.
  • The parents, or other person with legal authority, and the child have considered alternative treatment options.
  • The parents, or other person with legal authority, and the child believe in good faith that such decision is in the child’s best interests.

 

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Washington

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse or neglect’ means the injury of a child by any person under circumstances that cause harm to the child’s health, welfare, or safety or the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for or providing care to the child. An abused child is a child who has been subjected to child abuse or neglect.

‘Severe abuse’ means any of the following:

  • Any single act of abuse that causes physical trauma of sufficient severity that, if left untreated, could cause death
  • Any single act of sexual abuse that causes significant bleeding, deep bruising, or significant external or internal swelling
  • More than one act of physical abuse, each of which causes bleeding, deep bruising, significant external or internal swelling, bone fracture, or unconsciousness

Any use of force on a child by any other person is unlawful unless it is reasonable and moderate and is authorized in advance by the child’s parent or guardian for purposes of restraining or correcting the child. The following actions are presumed unreasonable when used to correct or restrain a child:

  • Throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child
  • Striking a child with a closed fist
  • Shaking a child younger than age 3
  • Interfering with a child’s breathing
  • Threatening a child with a deadly weapon
  • Doing any other act that is likely to cause and that does cause bodily harm greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks

The age, size, and condition of the child and the location of the injury shall be considered when determining whether the bodily harm is reasonable or moderate. This list is illustrative of unreasonable actions and is not intended to be exclusive.

 

Neglect

‘Negligent treatment or maltreatment’ means an act or a failure to act, or the cumulative effects of a pattern of conduct, behavior, or inaction, that evidences a serious disregard of consequences of such magnitude as to constitute a clear and present danger to a child’s health, welfare, or safety, including, but not limited to, conduct prohibited under § 9A.42.100 (endangerment with a controlled substance). When considering whether a clear and present danger exists, evidence of a parent’s substance abuse as a contributing factor to negligent treatment or maltreatment shall be given great weight.

It is ‘endangerment with a controlled substance’ if the person knowingly or intentionally permits a dependent child to be exposed to, ingest, inhale, or have contact with methamphetamine or ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or anhydrous ammonia, including their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, which are being used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse or neglect’ includes the sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child by any person under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health, welfare, and safety are harmed.

‘Sexual exploitation’ includes the following:

  • Allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution by any person
  • Allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child by any person

 

Emotional Abuse

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Abandonment

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Code § 26.44.030
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Any person can be a responsible person.

 

Exceptions

This chapter shall not be construed to authorize interference with child-raising practices, including reasonable parental discipline, that are not injurious to a child’s health, welfare, and safety.

Nothing in this chapter may be used to prohibit the reasonable use of corporal punishment as a means of discipline.

No parent or guardian may be deemed abusive or neglectful solely by reason of the parent’s or child’s blindness, deafness, developmental disability, or other handicap.

The fact that siblings share a bedroom is not, in and of itself, negligent treatment or maltreatment. Poverty, homelessness, or exposure to domestic violence that is perpetrated against someone other than the child does not constitute negligent treatment or maltreatment in and of itself.

A person who is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner will not be considered, for that reason alone, a neglected person.

The physical discipline of a child is not unlawful when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent, teacher, or guardian for purposes of restraining or correcting the child.

 

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West Virginia

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abused child’ means a child whose health or welfare is being harmed or threatened by any of the following:

  • A parent, guardian, or custodian who knowingly or intentionally inflicts, attempts to inflict, or knowingly allows another person to inflict, physical injury or mental or emotional injury upon the child or another child in the home, including an injury to the child as a result of excessive corporal punishment
  • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation
  • The sale or attempted sale of a child by a parent, guardian, or custodian in violation of § 61-2-14h
  • Domestic violence, as defined in § 48-27-202
  • Human trafficking or attempted human trafficking in violation of § 61-14-2

‘Imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child’ means an emergency situation in which the welfare or the life of the child is threatened. These conditions may include a situation when there is reasonable cause to believe that any child in the home is or has been sexually abused or sexually exploited or there is reasonable cause to believe that the following conditions threaten the health, life, or safety of any child in the home:

  • Nonaccidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling, babysitter, or other caregiver
  • A combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse that may be medically diagnosed as battered child syndrome
  • Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Any other condition that threatens the health, life, or safety of any child in the home

‘Serious physical abuse’ means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

 

Neglect

‘Neglected child’ means a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Whose physical or mental health is harmed or threatened by a present refusal, failure, or inability of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medical care, or education
  • Who is presently without necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision because of the disappearance or absence of the child’s parent or custodian

‘Imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child’ means an emergency situation in which the welfare or the life of the child is threatened. Such emergency situation exists when there is reasonable cause to believe that the following conditions threaten the health or life of any child in the home:

  • Nutritional deprivation
  • Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease
  • The impairment of the parent’s parenting skills due to abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substance, as defined § 60A-1-101, to such a degree as to pose an imminent risk to a child’s health or safety

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

‘Imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child’ includes an emergency situation in which there is reasonable cause to believe that any child in the home is or has been sexually abused or sexually exploited.

‘Sexual abuse’ means any of the following:

  • Sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion, sexual contact, or conduct that a parent, guardian, or custodian engages in, attempts to engage in, or knowingly procures another person to engage in with a child, notwithstanding the fact that for a child who is younger than age 16, the child may have willingly participated in that conduct or the child may have suffered no apparent physical, mental, or emotional injury as a result of that conduct or, for a child older than age 16, the child may have consented to that conduct or the child may have suffered no apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of that conduct
  • Any conduct where a parent, guardian, or custodian displays his or her sex organs to a child or procures another person to display his or her sex organs to a child for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of the parent, guardian, or custodian of the person making that display, or of the child, or for the purpose of affronting or alarming the child
  • Any of the offenses proscribed in § 61-8b-7 (sexual abuse in the first degree), § 61-8b-8 (sexual abuse in the second degree), or § 61-8b-9 (sexual abuse in the third degree)

‘Sexual exploitation’ means an act whereby a parent, guardian, or custodian does any of the following:

  • Whether for financial gain or not, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct
  • Persuades, induces, entices, or coerces a child to display his or her sex organs for the sexual gratification of the parent, guardian, custodian, or a third person or to display his or her sex organs under circumstances in which the parent, guardian, or custodian knows such display is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed
  • Knowingly maintains or makes available a child for the purpose of engaging the child in commercial sexual activity in violation of § 61-14-5

 

Emotional Abuse

The terms ‘child abuse and neglect’ or ‘child abuse or neglect’ include mental or emotional injury of a child by a parent, guardian, or custodian who is responsible for the child’s welfare, under circumstances that harm or threaten the health and welfare of the child.

‘Imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child’ includes substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian, or custodian.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-1-201
‘Abandonment’ means any conduct that demonstrates the settled purpose to forego the duties and parental responsibilities to the child.

‘Imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child’ includes abandonment by the parent, guardian, or custodian.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-803
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is neglected or abused or observes the child being subjected to conditions that are likely to result in abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

Responsible persons include the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

 

Exceptions

A child is not considered neglected under the following circumstances:

  • The lack of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care is due primarily to a lack of financial means on the part of the parent.
  • The child’s education is conducted within the provisions of § 18-8-1 (which provides exemption from the State compulsory education requirement for private school enrollment or homeschooling).

 

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Wisconsin

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means any of the following:

  • Physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means
  • When used in referring to an unborn child, serious physical harm inflicted on the unborn child and the risk of serious physical harm to the child when born caused by a habitual lack of self-control of the expectant mother of the unborn child in the use of alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or controlled substance analogs, exhibited to a severe degree
  • Manufacturing methamphetamine in violation of § 961.41(1)(e) under any of the following circumstances:
    • With a child physically present during the manufacture
    • In a child’s home, on the premises of a child’s home, or in a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child’s home
    • Under any circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child

‘Physical injury’ includes, but is not limited to, lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe or frequent bruising, or great bodily harm.

‘Incident of death or serious injury’ means an incident in which a child has died or has been placed in serious or critical condition, as determined by a physician, as a result of any suspected abuse or neglect that has been reported or in which a child who has been placed outside the home by a court order is suspected to have committed suicide.

‘Incident of egregious abuse or neglect’ means an incident of suspected abuse or neglect that has been reported under this section, other than an incident of death or serious injury, involving significant violence, torture, multiple victims, the use of inappropriate or cruel restraints, exposure of a child to a dangerous situation, or other similar, aggravated circumstances.

 

Neglect

‘Neglect’ means failure, refusal, or inability on the part of a caregiver, for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care, or shelter so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse’ includes any of the following:

  • Sexual intercourse or sexual contact
  • Sexual exploitation of a child
  • Sex trafficking of a child
  • Permitting, allowing, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution
  • Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity
  • The exposure of one’s genitals to a child

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abuse’ includes emotional damage for which the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian has neglected, refused, or been unable, for reasons other than poverty, to obtain the necessary treatment or to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.

‘Emotional damage’ means harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning. ‘Emotional damage’ shall be evidenced by one or more of the following characteristics exhibited to a severe degree: anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or outward aggressive behavior; a substantial and observable change in behavior or emotional response; or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child’s age and stage of development.

 

Abandonment

 

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.981
A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the person in the course of his or her professional duties has been abused or neglected or has reason to believe that a child seen by the person in the course of his or her professional duties has been threatened with abuse or neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘Caregiver’ means, with respect to a child who is the victim or alleged victim of abuse or neglect or who is threatened with abuse or neglect, any of the following persons:

  • The child’s parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, or half-sister
  • The child’s guardian or legal custodian
  • A person who resides or has resided regularly or intermittently in the same dwelling as the child
  • An employee of a residential facility or residential care center for children and youth in which the child was or is placed
  • A person who provides or has provided care for the child in or outside of the child’s home
  • Any other person who exercises or has exercised temporary or permanent control over the child or who temporarily or permanently supervises or has supervised the child
  • Any relative of the child other than one listed above

 

Exceptions

It is not considered neglect when the failure to provide a child with necessary care, food, clothing, shelter, medical, or dental care is due to poverty.

 

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Wyoming

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (924 KB) of this publication.

Current Through March 2019

Physical Abuse

‘Abuse’ means inflicting or causing physical injury, harm, or imminent danger to the physical health or welfare of a child other than by accidental means, including excessive or unreasonable corporal punishment.

‘Physical injury’ means any harm to a child, including, but not limited to, disfigurement, impairment of any bodily organ, skin bruising if greater in magnitude than minor bruising associated with reasonable corporal punishment, bleeding, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, or substantial malnutrition.

 

Neglect

The term ‘abuse’ includes malnutrition or substantial risk of harm by reason of intentional or unintentional neglect.

‘Neglect’ means a failure or refusal by those responsible for the child’s welfare to provide adequate care; maintenance; supervision; education; or medical, surgical, or any other care necessary for the child’s well-being.

 

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

The term ‘abuse’ includes the commission or allowing the commission of a sexual offense against a child, as defined by law.

 

Emotional Abuse

The term ‘abuse’ includes inflicting or causing mental injury or harm to the mental health or welfare of the child.

‘Mental injury’ means an injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in his or her ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior, with due regard to his or her culture.

 

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202
The term ‘abuse’ includes abandonment, unless the abandonment is a relinquishment substantially in accordance with §§ 14-11-101 through 14-11-109.

 

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-205
A report is required when any person knows or has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or observes any child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

 

Persons Responsible for the Child

‘A person responsible for a child’s welfare’ includes the following:

  • The child’s parent, noncustodial parent, guardian, custodian, stepparent, or foster parent
  • Any other person, institution, or agency having the physical custody or control of the child

 

Exceptions

Treatment given in good faith by spiritual means alone through prayer by a duly accredited practitioner, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, is not child neglect for that reason alone.

The fact a child, who is at least age 16, is homeless, as defined in § 14-1-102(d), shall not, in and of itself, constitute a sufficient basis for reporting neglect.

 

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